Interview questions come in all shapes and sizes:
- There’s the icebreaker: “How long was your commute here today?”
- The behavioral: “Describe a work situation in which you faced extreme time pressure, and how you handled it.”
- The zinger: “How many ping pong balls can you fit in the cabin of a 747?”
The list goes on and on. While you never know exactly what questions you’ll field in an interview, employers of all types consistently rely on this “oldie but goodie”:
“Why should we hire you?”
You know it’s coming, so be prepared to nail it. Here’s how:
Stack the deck in your favor.
- Before the interview: The job posting is likely to include skills, experience and attributes essential to the role. Review this list and select a few areas where you excel. Make a list of accomplishments or measurable results which demonstrate those abilities or attributes.
- During the interview: From the moment you step into the interview room, listen for cues from the employer that indicate which skills or qualities are most important for the position. Make a mental list of talking points (based on the information you’ve prepared) so that, when the question comes, you know which qualifications to highlight.
Focus on what makes you unique. Most candidates can provide evidence that they have a good attitude or work well in a team environment. The interviewer wants to know what makes you special. Choose one or two qualities you possess that others may not, and then share your evidence. Here are a few examples of stand-out leads for your response:
- “My skills in [X and Y] are a great fit for the position as you’ve described it. Let me explain how I’ve used those skills in prior roles, as well as how they’ll be an asset in this job.”
- “I have the whole package – skills, experience and attributes – needed to succeed in this job. Here’s why.”
- “In the job posting, you list that you’re looking for a candidate with [X and Y]. Let me share a few examples of how I excel in both of those areas.”
Get to the point. Quickly! In addition to analyzing your response, the interviewer will also gauge how concise it is. Limit your answer to two minutes, tops.
Be yourself. Obviously, you want a job that suits your abilities, complements your natural work style and provides appropriate challenge. If you try too hard to impress the interviewer (instead of being true to yourself), you may wind up sounding like an over-rehearsed robot. Prepare talking points for your answer, but don’t memorize a script. And never, ever exaggerate your skills, experience or abilities. Trying to be something you’re not may land you an offer, but it’ll backfire in the long run.
Nobody hiring you?
PrideStaff can put you to work quickly. When you apply with us, we can help you:
- strengthen your interview skills and polish your resume;
- broaden your experience and network with a variety of temporary assignments;
- earn money while you look for a full-time job.